Food insecurity, having limited or inconsistent access to quality nutritious foods, reaches every corner of Cook County and is associated with a host of adverse and costly health outcomes for men, women, and children. Specifically, food insecurity is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, depression, increased hospital visits and increased health care costs. Access to nutritious food, particularly fresh produce, is critical to treatment and recovery from illness in addition to preventing health problems. Many communities served by the Greater Chicago Food Depository and its member agencies report high incidences of diabetes (35 percent), obesity, and high blood pressure (60 percent) -- conditions associated with poor-quality nutrition. The AmeriCorps member working in the health and nutrition role will help Food Depository member agencies begin to address these community health challenges.
Three VISTA members will work with the Food Depository’s member agencies to increase their capacity to provide health and nutrition education to their clients. VISTA members will facilitate the training of member agency representatives and Food Depository volunteers on a program designed to use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals.
AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance of $14,196 (paid bi-weekly) during their year of service. Upon successful completion of their term of service, AmeriCorps VISTA members have an option to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or an end of service stipend. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is $5,815.00 and can be used to pay for college or graduate school at Title IV schools, or to repay qualified student loans. The end of service stipend is $1,800. AmeriCorps VISTA members also receive health care benefits, child care assistance, student loan forbearance, professional development and training. With 62 AmeriCorps State-National members serving since 2009, VISTA candidates join a network of individuals committed to National Service at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America and was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. Since its founding, over 180,000 individuals have served as VISTA members. This year AmeriCorps VISTA will capitalize on the skills of over 7,000 Americans to support community efforts to overcome poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve at over 1,000 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based and other community organizations across the country - building capacity and helping communities meet critical needs.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 68 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 155,000 meals every day.
Please click on the following link to apply for this opportunity: AmeriCorps VISTA - Health and Nutrition Coordinator